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“Hunger strike until freedom”: Fourth day of hunger strike in Amygdaleza detention centre

“Hunger strike until freedom”*

On November 17th, 2014 hundreds of refugees detained administratively in the pre-removal centre of Amygdaleza started to protest massively against the prolonged detention of more than 18 months, against the detention of dozens of minors and the detention conditions that amongst others recently led to the death of two detainees.

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“They coop us up here like sheep and then don’t care anymore about us. (…)”
“There are persons detained 26 months. (…)”
“When we say ‘my stomach hurts’, they’d answer ‘my balls hurt’.”

Only on November 6th the 26-year-old Mohammed Asfak died of the consequences of beating by law enforcement officers in Corinth detention centre during one of the uprisings of migrants there 5-6 months ago. His injuries had not been taken care of adequately. He was only transferred to hospital after a break down. For 15 days he had been begging the police to bring him to the hospital as he had respiratory problems. When asking for medical aid, police even replied: “Die, we don’t care.” Only some days after this tragic incident, another detainee from Bangladesh died of lacking sufficient medical aid.

Yesterday, on the third day of hunger strike the Movement against Racism and Fascist Threat (KEERFA) reported of 15 detainees who had been transferred to the hospital after fainting and 90% participation in the hunger strike. KEERFA furthermore said that the detainees chose to go on hunger strike on November 17 as a symbolic move because the particular date marks the 41st anniversary of the student uprising against the junta.

The Amygdaleza detention center is 10 kilometers away from Athens and it is supposed to hold 1,000 inmates. In October 2014, the number of detainees was 1,600. The facility has repeatedly come under serious criticism both due to the indefinite time of the detention of migrants and refugees, as well as the squalid conditions they are held in. Among the approximately 1,600 detainees are many vulnerable groups such as 15-year-old children, asylum seekers, de facto refugees such as Syrians and other nationalities whose deportation is not feasible according to UNHCR such as Eritreans. There are also persons with close relatives in other EU-member states awaiting family reunification, victims of torture who have never been identified by the authorities and sick persons.
solidarité-avec-les-immigrants

“We will fight until freedom”, an underage refugee declared, who has been registered as adult.

Continue reading ‘“Hunger strike until freedom”: Fourth day of hunger strike in Amygdaleza detention centre’

Migrant dies of heart attack in Amigdaleza detention centre

In Amigdaleza detention centre where currently around 1,650 sans-papiers are detained, some of which are there even longer than 18 months, a Pakistani migrant died today of a heart attack. His case is the third medical case of a detainee in detention with fatal consequences due to insufficient medical aid.Amigdaleza detention center
koutitispandoras (in greek)
efymerida ton sindakton (in greek)

Greece wants more EU-money for more detention centres due to increase in arrivals

Greece needs more EU funds for immigration, minister says

Greece needs more funding from the European Union to deal with the increased flow of undocumented immigrants in the eastern Aegean, Public Order Minister Vassilis Kikilias said in an interview with Sunday’s Kathimerini.

According to the minister, there has been an 800 percent increase in the number of irregular migrants reaching Greece via boat from Turkey over the last two years.

He said that Greece was finding it increasingly difficult to deal with this influx and that it would require further funding from the EU, which has recently reduced the budget for its Frontex border agency.

Kikilias said Greece has asked for emergency funding to cover the cost of hosting migrants in reception centers and to create a mobile unit to process asylum applications.

“On the one hand it is our duty to protect our borders, on the other it is also our duty to provide humane holding conditions to migrants, who are, after all, human souls in absolute misery,” he said.

source: ekathimerini (in English)

The first year of the Asylum Service in numbers

In a Press Release concerning the first year of its functioning (June 2013-May 2014) the Asylum Service reported that 8,945 persons applied for asylum of which most were from Afghans. Among the asylum seekers were also 430 unaccompanied minors.

In first instance 926 persons received international protection status (643 refugee status, 283 subsidiary) mainly coming from Palestine, Syria, Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia. 3,674 first instance applications were negative.

The recognition rate in first instance reached 20,1 % while 1,344 applications were closed for different reasons.
In average the asylum procedure takes 122 days according to the Press Release, nevertheless refugees report periods of up to some months until they manage to put their asylum claim while cueing every day from the early morning.

1,162 made a subsequent claim. Many of which might have been detainees as they are reportedly often advised falsely by police officers to withdraw from their claims in order to be released sooner from detention. 1,695 persons applied for asylum from inside detention centres. At the same time 2,807 appeals were made against first instance rejections. Of 2,015 second instance decisions 86,1% were negative.

Most asylum claims are proceeded in the Asylum Service in Athens (81,6%) but there are also offices in the periphery, namely in North and South Evros, in Lesvos, Rhodes as well as asylum service teams in Amigdaleza, Thessaloniki and Patras. It is still a great obstacle for all international protection seekers living in other areas of Greece to reach to one of the asylum services.

Finally, a large number of asylum claims are still proceeded by the Aliens Police Directorate in Petrou Ralli, Athens. Asylum seekers in the “old system” are still waiting after years to get their claims answered while they face other kinds of obstacles with the procedures. This “two class asylum system” has been criticised since the beginning of the Asylum Service.

See all statistics here in English

source: Ministry of Citizen Protection and Public Order 16.6.14 (in greek)

Mother with baby detained one month in Petrou Ralli detention cells

Detention of babies and children under inhuman and degrading conditions in Greece

Z.M. from Afghanistan, a young mother of a one-year-old and a six-year old was arrested in the end of April 2014 in Eleftherios Venizelos, Athens Airport for the try of “illegal exit” of the country and the “use of false documents” (§ 83 and § 87 par. 7 of law 3386/2005). After two days of detention in the airport prison they were brought before the one-headed Misdemeanor Court of Athens, which pronounced a sentence of four months imprisonment on suspension. Then they were both transferred to the detention cells of the Aliens Police Department in Petrou Ralli. “We were detained in the second floor. In the beginning there were also two other mothers with their small children. When they were released we stayed alone in the cell. Next to us there was a cell where they locked up people who were getting crazy inside the prison. These poor people were crying and shouting throughout the nights. My baby was afraid, crying often instead of sleeping. … We were given only once weekly milk while the food was of very low quality lacking vitamines and oil. We couldn’t go out every day and the toilette and bathroom were filthy as we shared it with all other people.” The mother with her baby were released after one month on June 4th and only after a lawyer appealed against the detention.
Continue reading ‘Mother with baby detained one month in Petrou Ralli detention cells’

IPS News: Immigrants Face Indefinite Detention in Greece

by Apostolis Fotiadis

ips news (in english)

ATHENS, May 28 2014 (IPS) – The evolution of immigration and border control policy in Greece and its interdependence with European funding suggests an agenda which has been decided above national legislatures with strong coordination between European political actors and economic interests, while ignoring the human suffering it produces.

Since February, the Greek authorities have taken another step towards harsher treatment of irregular immigrants by announcing a policy of indefinite detention until repatriation. Indefinite detention has been based on an opinion of the Legal Council of the Greek State and will be implemented even in cases where repatriation is not feasible.

Earlier this week, a Greek court considered the premises of this decision to be against national and European legislation and asked for it to be revoked. Authorities have yet to react to this decision.
Continue reading ‘IPS News: Immigrants Face Indefinite Detention in Greece’

Athens court rules more than 18 months detention of migrants is illegal!

The appeal against detention that was brought to court by the Greek Council for Refugees is of broader significance as it was the first case of its kind against the “endless detention duration. The decision 2255/23.5.2014 says that the endless detention defined as measure of compulsory stay in a detention centre by the states Legal Council Opinion 44/2014 is not according to law.

It states:

“it is not founded on any legislative provision”
“the compulsory measure imposed on the affected person is actually a continuation of his detention”

The case affects an Afghan refugee who was detained until May 5th 2014 a total of 18 months. Three days before that date (not even three months before as the Councils Opinion had defined) he received a documented informing him that his detention would be continued until he would “cooperate” to his “voluntary” deportation. The court decision was ruled on May 23rd and the refugee was released.

koutitispandoras (in greek)
efimerida ton syndakton (in greek)

GCR Press Release (in greek)

People protest against planned new detention centre in Aghia Barbara Hospital, Athens

Hospitals are closed; detention centres opened

Aghia Barbara Hospital in Aigaleo, Athens has been announced to become one of the new detention centres for migrants in Athens adding to the alreaady existing 5,000 places in mass detention centres that were opened after August 4th, 2012 Operation Xenios Dias.

Antiracist organisations, labour unions, municipal movements and neighbours protested against the change into a detention centre and demanded the re-opening of the hospital. They stopped bulldozers from entering the to be construction site. Also the mayor expressed that there was no interest by the local government to accept this measure and that he would proceed to protect peoples lives. Consequently the re-construction was temporarily stopped but will continue after elections, Minister Dendias said. As he continued the government planned an open camp for men and women there and not a detention centre. Nonetheless and given the Ministers tradition in anti-migratory policies no one trusts his statement.

The government meanwhile plans to open also detention centres in other recently closed down hospitals of West-Athens such as the Therapeftirio Chronion Pathiseon Paidon in Sxistou and Skaramanga street.

efymerida ton syndakton (in greek)
left.gr (in greek)
efymerida ton syndakton (in greek)

Pogrom against Turkish political refugees in Greece continues

In a press conference on February 18th, organised by the Solidarity Committee for Political Prisoners in Turkey and Kurdistan, the advocates Aleka Zorbala and John Rachiotis spoke about the recent arrest of four more Turkish refugees on February 10th in Gkyzi area in Athens.

The arrest is a continuance of a pogrom the Greek government carries out since all over 2013 against Turkish activists who live as refugees in Greece and during which more than 16 persons have already been prosecuted. The Turkish refugees in Greece have been exposed to threats, house searches kidnappings from the street, arrests, torture and arrests. As the lawyers stated during the press conference in case of a extradition to Turkey the lives of their clients are in immediate danger.
Continue reading ‘Pogrom against Turkish political refugees in Greece continues’

Uprising in Amigdaleza

ON August 10th detained migrants in Amigdaleza near Athens protested in an uprising against the extension of their detention from 12 to 18 months. 1.620 migrants are currently detained in this prison while it was built only for 820. In the past months different human rights organisations had reported about the inhuman detention conditions, about cases of police violence and forced “voluntary returns”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei-yh2FyPoQ&feature=player_embedded#at=15

Saturday 10th of August: Immigrants imprisoned at Amygdaleza detention center (near Athens) started a revolt around 21.00 o’clock. They protested against the deplorable conditions and the extension of their detention from 12 to 18 months. Many of the detainees face deportation following the negative decisions on their asylum cases and have lost hope.GREECE-IMMIGRATION-POLICE-RIGHTS Continue reading ‘Uprising in Amigdaleza’

The infomobile

... is like a “paper boat”. We chose this as a metaphor for what we want to create and for the situation of refugees and migrants in Greece. The paper boat is a folded boat able to swim – for a while. Then you have to build a new one to go on travelling. A paper boat is symbolic for the journey of life, vulnerable but in your own hands and to be recreated again and again. It is simple, but it carries many hopes and dreams. It can dance on a turbulent sea. It belongs to everybody. And it might become the small version – like a first draft – of a welcome-space.

Get in touch

email: infomobile.w2eu@gmail.com

RSS Clandestina

  • Hunger strike in Amygdaleza detention centre
    “Hunger strike until freedom”* On November 17th, 2014 hundreds of refugees detained administratively in the pre-removal centre of Amygdaleza started to protest massively against the prolonged detention of more than 18 months, against the detention of dozens of minors and the detention conditions that amongst others recently led to the death of two detainees. “They […]

RSS Group of Lawyers – Athens

  • Case of torture by Coast Guards off Chios in 2007: Appeal Court on 6-11-2014 ‏
    Οn 6 November 2014 the Supreme Military Court of Athens (Petrou Ralli str. 1, at 9:00 am) is going to examine the appeal by the two coast guards found guilty at first instance for having committed acts of torture against an asylum seeker, including restricting the victim’s breathing so as to simulate drowning and suffocation […]

RSS the border is the problem